“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…” (Matt 26:41)
Eventually, the Israelites went to the rulers of the city and begged for peace with the Assyrians. They had already endured so much, and they needed relief. After all they had been through, who could blame them?
The conversation between the Israelites and Uzziah at the end of the chapter holds the true essence of faith: to hope when there is no hope in sight. To endure when there is no consolation. To trust when adversity hits not just once but multiple times and for a very long time.
Hebrews 11:1 reads that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” One could argue that one’s faith truly shines when it is put to the test like the Israelites at siege at Bethulia, so ready to surrender to the Assyrians, but who were encouraged by Uzziah, who urged them to continue to wait out because he greatly trusts in the Lord’s mercy.
How beautiful to behold a people who continue to endure after coming so close to death and agree to wait even longer on God’s deliverance, in the midst of great suffering and misery.
Now that’s faith.
Continuing to have faith in the Lord’s presence and mercy when things are hopeless is probably the hardest test any of us may have to undergo. But I pray that if you find yourself experiencing suffering, that you call to mind Uzziah’s words to have courage, “endure patiently,” and ask for the grace to deeply believe the truth that “God will not utterly forsake [you].”
Peace be with you, my gorgeous faithful sister.